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5 Ways to Get your Kids to Love Reading

I don’t recall my phonics instruction as young child, but I do remember the excitement I felt when a new member of the Letter People knocked on the door to my kindergarten classroom!

The reason I remember those inflatable alphabet characters is because the things that stick with us are the things that inspire or excite us (that’s why play is such a rich learning environment for kids).

Developing a love for reading is so much more important than reaching benchmarks by certain ages. (Did you know that some countries don’t even start teaching reading until a child is 7?)  

A child who loves to read will be naturally drawn to reading more often, and that love will stay with them for the rest of their lives.

5 ways to get your kids to love reading

let them read whatever they want

In the early years (or if you have a student who dislikes reading), let them read what looks exciting, funny or relatable to them.  As they connect with the stories (or are simply entertained by them), they will naturally develop a love for reading that will spill over into the coming years.

As they grow as learners, you can introduce them to rich literature in a variety of genres. If the love is there to begin with, they will be more willing to entertain new ideas and forms of writing. If you face a challenge in getting them interested in a specific genre, choose something within that context that piques their curiosity or connects with something they enjoy. For example, if biographies sound boring to them, let them read about a favorite sports star.

read to them

There are so many studies that show the benefits of reading to young children.  But it doesn’t have to stop when they grow out of their preschool years!  Many families read aloud and share in the experience together. There are so many great opportunities for discussion (and bonding!) that occur when you spend time digging in to the same story or topic together. 

If you have children who are different ages, get your big kids involved by having them read to their younger siblings, it’s a win-win!

Give them challenges

Make it fun with reading challenges! Engage with your kids’ sense of adventure by reading somewhere new (outside, in a blanket fort, or even at a park).  Set a goal together for the week (a specific number of books or minutes) and give them a reward to work towards (ice cream, trip to the zoo, video game time, etc).  Mixing things up a bit sparks interest!

model reading yourself

Your child watches everything you do, so imagine the influence you have on them when they see you reading!  Keep reading materials easily accessible around your house, talk with them about what you’re reading, and borrow or buy books together.  You’ll be raising life-long readers through all of the intentional little things you do throughout the day!

play games that strengthen reading skills

The more confident a child is in their reading skills, the more of an appetite they have for books! Activities like the game below help kids build fluency in very real ways, but they feel like they’re playing! Utilize games that build on the skills your child is learning – they’ll have fun and seek out the activities on their own!

try this activity

This summer, I created CVC cards for my daughter because she’s working on fluency.  (In case you’re new to homeschooling, CVC stands for consonant-vowel-consonant words, like cat.) 

As soon as they were printed, we played a game I created called Biggest Catch. Basically, we took turns drawing a card from a pile and then reading it.  If it was read correctly, we got to keep it in our basket as part of our catch, and the person with the biggest catch at the end of the game was the winner. 

We put paper clips on the cards and used an old homemade magnetic “fishing pole” to draw them.  My daughter quickly learned that if she was strategic, she could pull two in one turn.  She was excited that she was winning, and I was excited that she was reading twice as many words!

Games and activities are great tools for strengthening reading skills, and  they serve to link the positive emotions kids experience while having fun to reading. 

I made these cards for my daughter, but we’re all in this together, right?  I put them in my shop so you could have the same amount of fun that we’re having without all of the work of making them!

This set contains both color and b&w cards for 136 words, and includes an activity guide with 7 DIFFERENT GAMES to play with them!  Each game can be adjusted to fit your child’s reading level or to focus on specific skills.  Additionally, you can use these cards to supplement your reading instruction in other ways, or even create your own activities!  All for under $5!

No matter what approaches you use, developing a love for reading in your children now will pay off for the rest of their lives. Keep at it, mama, and know that you are building a foundation for them to stand on for years to come!

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